Brian, a photographer based in Rotterdam, has captured a piece of history that is slowly fading away, particularly the Grand Orient Express. This train, introduced by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL) in 1883, was the epitome of luxury.
Today, only a few of these magnificent trains remain in the world. One of them has been transformed into hotel accommodations on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. The other, which you can see in the photos below, lies dormant in Belgium, untouched since its last journey in December 2009.
“When I step inside an abandoned place, it feels like entering a different era,” says Brian, who explores urban environments and captures their essence through his photography. “I try to connect with the emotions of its past, and that’s what I strive to convey in my photos,” he shares on his website. “I consider it a success when people look at my art and wonder about the stories behind it.”
During the golden age of train travel, the journey itself was just as important as the destination. Passengers were treated to luxurious amenities while enjoying the ever-changing landscapes outside their windows. The Orient Express, which initially operated between Paris and Istanbul in 1883 (with additional routes added later), became synonymous with luxury and enigma.
A Grand Orient Express train that was abandoned seven years ago in Belgium still holds the mystery of one of the world’s most remarkable train experiences. Brian Romeijn, an urban explorer and photographer, recently captured images of the train, now decaying with moth-eaten seats and rusted ceilings.
This eerie sense of uncertainty is precisely what attracts the Rotterdam-based photographer to abandoned sites. “Entering an abandoned location feels like stepping into a different time,” he mentions on his website. “I try to connect with the emotions embedded in its history, and that’s what I strive to portray in my photographs.”
Although they all belong to a bygone era, not all Orient Express trains have been abandoned. The Venice-Simplon Orient Express train has meticulously restored each compartment to its former glory, offering one of the world’s finest luxury experiences. This private luxury train service now operates between London and Venice, as well as other European destinations. It seeks to recreate the opulence of the Orient Express, providing lavish cabins, suites, and five-star cuisine.